Time to ponder

I was reminded of this article against the backdrop of international women’s day observed on March 8th. Well, I had written this article for a college magazine in 2005. How is the situation now? Time to introspect!

Yet another international women’s day was celebrated on March 8th. Some called it as a the day for women to rejoice and celebrate their womanhood. Some resigning to their secondary status compared to their male counterparts only sighed a deep breath, as if to say it made no difference to them. While a few others used it as a forum to ponder, debate and discuss problems/issues confronting women.  What were your thoughts on this day?

Women have been able to carve out a niche for themselves in every sphere of life. They have been able to do justice to their roles as mothers, daughters, sisters and wives. However the principle of gender equality is yet to come to stay in India, or for that matter in many parts of the world. We find only a few crusaders or feminists who uphold women’s rights and equality that are actually well laid down in the constitution.

The National Commission for Women was set up by an Act of the Indian Parliament in 1990 to safeguard the rights and legal entitlements of women. The 73rd and 74th Amendments to the Constitution made in 1993 had made provisions for reservation of seats in the local bodies. But the long-pending demand for 33 percent reservation for women in the Indian Parliament is yet to materialize. What are your views on this?

Stories of women being ill-treated by their husbands, especially in rural areas come to light every now and then. Female foeticide is on the rise. The ratio of male to female population is appalling. “Empowerment of women” has almost become a cliche. There are some pundits who say women have entered the erstwhile male-dominated domains and point out where is the need for empowerment. But isn’t this only a minuscule percentage of the female working population? Does it depict the microcosm of the real India?

We are still tied to social systems where “restriction” and “taboo” for girls rule the roost. People, especially ones the conservative bent of mind, rejoice at the birth of a male child and there is a pall of gloom when it is a female child – again mostly in the rural areas. If given the right opportunities with a congenial atmosphere and mental support to boot, she can simply do wonders in any field. Does it need a mention anymore? She is now up flying as a pilot and adept at maneuvering the engine of a train. She is able to balance career and domestic chores with ease. Shouldn’t she be treated on par with the male bastion? In other words, shouldn’t she get her just deserts?